Titanic Struggle Recap

Straily outduels Bumgarner, Bruce homers (again)

Four series wins in a row. And this one wasn’t against the Atlanta Braves or Last Place LaRussas. The San Francisco Giants are at the top of the NL West in an even-numbered year. This win was against Madison Bumgarner.

The Reds are 9-3 since the arbitrary starting-point of the All-Star break. They have tomorrow off and then play a 3-game series in San Diego. As soon as information is available on postseason tickets, we’ll pass it along.

Cincinnati 2  San Francisco 1  |  FanGraphs  | Tony Bennett, of course

Steely Dan The Reds got 7.2 great innings from Dan Straily. He threw 90 pitches, giving up three hits and one walk. He struck out five Giants. The first inning offered a hint that this might be a good day for Straily when he struck out the side on 11 pitches. The Reds haven’t had a complete game win yet this year. It looked for a while like Straily might have had a shot. Bryan Price lifted him in the 8th with two outs after Madison Bumgarner singled to right.

The Last Waltz If this is Jay Bruce‘s last week playing for the Reds, he’s going out in style. Bruce has hit six home runs in the last five games, including four over the imposing walls at AT&T Park. His 25th home run in the 7th inning ended up being the game-winning hit. Bruce is now hitting .271/.323 with isolated power of .301 and wRC+ of 130. That’s the fourth highest power number in the major leagues. He’s having the best offensive year of his career.

Keep on Keepin’ On Joey Votto had two hits today, raising his average to .281 and on-base percentage to .415. That’s fifth in the majors. It was his eleventh game in a row getting on base at least twice.

Game Saving Play? With a runner at first, Zack Cozart made a “dazzling” (M. Brennaman) defensive play on a hard ground ball to his left. Diving full out and laying on the ground, he shoveled the ball to Brandon Phillips for a force at second.

Relief Roles Raisel Iglesias got the final out in the 8th, retiring Gregor Blanco on one pitch. Instead of leaving Iglesias in to pitch the ninth, Bryan Price went with his closer because that’s what managers do. Tony Cingrani gave up a leadoff single to Angel Pagan, but then he retired the heart of the Giants lineup in order, securing the game.

Almost, But Not Quite The excitement almost made me forget to mention that Jose Peraza didn’t play an inning or receive a plate appearance in this series.

Fun Fact Madison Bumgarner once dated a woman named Madison Bumgarner (no relation, he checked).

85 thoughts on “Straily outduels Bumgarner, Bruce homers (again)

  1. Yeoman performance by Straily and Bruce gets it done again. I don’t understand why Price brings Cingrani in in the 9th. with right handed hitters the first three up in the inning; why not let Iglesias pitch the ninth. The Reds have won five of their last six series.

    • Yawn!!!

      “The Reds are 9-3 since the arbitrary starting-point of the All-Star break”

      I wonder if they will get hot and play the way that they should. Could have been 11-1 in this stretch….

      sheesh

      (this is big fun) What was that calculation 47-19 to make the playoffs? Get that first one in San Diego and we are on the smiling side of that second half pace.

    • Price hasn’t been strictly adhering to standard bullpen use of late, so how certain are we that the move was dictated by closer protocol?

      • Well…I’d say he has adhered exactly to the closer rule book. Who else wanted Iggy to close out that game instead of Tony?

  2. I hope that Jay Bruce’s recent hot streak creates the equivalent of a “Dutch Tulip craze” for opposing general manager’s and we get a bundle for him if he gets traded.

  3. what kind of screaming we would be hearing if Cingrani had lost the game…..LOL

    • Peraza not going to play regularly until price gets an extension
      Coaching on the head of a pin

  4. Actually the Reds are 8-4 since the AS break. I was cursing Price up and down when he didn’t let Iglesias start (and probably finish the 9th), especially after the lead-off single. But after Posey just missed winning the game, I relaxed a bit. Straily was terrific. A clinic on how to pitch without breaking 90 on the gun.

    • You’re exactly right about Straily. Chris Welsh has said it several times….if he was throwing 89 when he was young then they never sign him to begin with. You get signed because you throw hard so you throw hard but only so many guys figure out how to change speeds and pitch to contact when need be!

    • It’s a mystery why he’s been so slow the last 2 years in the first half. Seems like a month ago he was hitting .210. Now he’s over .280 and climbing.

      • He started hitting right around the end of May so it was two slow months and hopefully 4 hot months. He’s just been extraordinary since the AS Break!!

  5. I’m mystified as to why Cingrani pitched the 9th. Not only does the closer thing not matter, but Iglesias had thrown ONE pitch with a string of righties due up on the 9th. In a one run game, why burn the extra pitcher when a single run in the 9th means extra innings with two of your best relievers gone? Not smart IMHO. Also, as I’ve said before, Free Peraza. Ridiculous that Phillips still gets all the playing time. Maybe if BP got hurt say, a fractured bone in his hand, then Peraza might see the field. Oh never mind. Shout out to T. Barnhart tonight too. Put him in the plus column. Solid behind the plate, and his at bat with Phillips on 3rd and Straily on deck was in my opinion the offensive key to the win (no offense Mr. Bruce). It’s a different game if he doesn’t tie it with the sac fly. His at bat was just good enough against a very tough pitcher.

    • It’s because Price is almost as old school as Dusty and believes in defined roles for the bullpen. They were talking about it the other day on the radio, how the pen has been much better, everyone knows their role and is comfortable, etc.

      Really, the reason the pen has been better is because Iglesias and Lorenzen are way more talented than the long ball fodder that had been masquerading as a bullpen. But you know, reinforce the belief in roles because something is working now. Even though when it didn’t help Hoover or Diaz earlier in the season when they knew their roles were 8th/9th innings guys.

  6. Now this is my kind of game.
    Question for you fans out there. It appears to me that Price is maturing as a manager. Anybody think he has improved and if so has he improved enough to keep his job? Keep in mind if we fire him we may wind up hating the replacement even more.

        • If he did all the kids with Jan-Feb birthdays would be starting, and all the Nov-Dec birthdays would be sitting. Also the CF would be leading off.

      • I seriously doubt that the playing time for Peraza is Price’s decision. Why would the FO allow a manager in the last 3 months of his contract to have that kind of authority?

        The “anyone would be better” shows a complete misunderstanding of what kind of impact baseball managers have proven to have on team success….very limited….2-3 games per year. Joe Maddon managing the Reds would have a record similar to Price. If Price managed the Cubs they would still be in first place.

        • Complete misunderstanding ???? Price couldn’t manage his way out of a wet paper bag. He’s shown time and time again that he is far from being a competent field manager. Don’t know who is , but he IS NOT the answer.

        • ” Couldn’t manage a T-Ball team”

          ” Couldn’t manage out of a wet paper bag”

          It must be Platitude Thursday. Thank you for making us all smarter baseball fans.

        • It seems to me that most of us have all the answers. Do you really believe that the Reds would be heading for the playoffs this year if they had a different manager? Well, maybe they would have started the second half by winning 4 series if Price had been replaced over the All-Star break…

        • completely disagree. Price has no concept about lineup construction or bullpen management.

    • In what ways has he improved in your eyes? For me, it’s difficult to say because a good part of what a manager does is behind the scenes and quite frankly, we don’t see it so can’t really evaluate it. From what I see, he still makes questionable decisions as far as lineups and the team still seems to display a myriad of fundamental issues. I’m not sure if the latter is all on Price though. Some of that is probably due to the players he’s been given to work with. I see a team that still seems to be playing for him too. So, while I don’t think he should be extended, I have no issue with him finishing out the rest of the season as the team’s manager. You’re right that the next guy could certainly be worse, especially if they bring up a guy like DeShields or allow Riggleman to manage.

      • That may be my worst fear, assuming Price isn’t retained–that either Riggleman or DeShields becomes the manager. If that happens then it was senseless to replace Price. I’m also not on the “Fire Price” bandwagon although his failure to use Peraza has me more than a bit frustrated and/or puzzled. Why isn’t he getting at bats in AAA if the Reds aren’t going to use him at minimum 3-4 times a week?

        • More a question for the front-office. They could pressure Price to play Peraza if they wanted to. They also could send Peraza down.

      • Well said.

        For me, I’ve yet to see one lick of “new school” or “sabermetric” thinking incorporated into a game.

        So, I think Price is hopelessly old school and, thus, is still the same guy.

        Agree that he should finish the season. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of “candidates” will likely be 100% olds school, so for me there’s no rush to get him out of here.

        • I’m telling ya, it’s probably going to be Riggleman or DeShields and neither is a good option in my opinion.

          • Agreed. DeShields, what little I’ve seen/read/heard of him, is likely the worst baseball manager on the planet at any level.

            He batted Jesse Winker 7th for crying out loud. If I am the Reds GM, I fire him on the spot. Wasting your top hitting prospect’s (at the time…) ABs is a punishable crime!!

        • Looking forward to the end of the 2016 season and the transfer of reins to Williams, the first item on the agenda will be very telling.

          If Williams is the GM we hope, virtually the entire minor league management will be given walking papers and a plan for player development and consistency throughout the minor league organization will be presented and and implemented.

          If Williams is in fact simply a nepotistic move to maintain the good-old-boy network within the organization them the minor league management will be maintained and/or promoted.

          As soon as the final out of the world series is recorded, you’re on the clock Dick.

  7. Price needs to go but it wouldn’t make much difference. I thought his job as the pitching coach was the real reason for Dusty’s success with the Reds but obviously he hasn’t had the same deck of cards to play with!

    This situation with Peraza is ridiculous! The fact that it took him 3.5 months to move BP out of the 3-4 hole is another one. Like Chuck said….his hands are probably tied but surely it hasn’t always been that way? Price only had 1 season at the helm of the Reds going into 2015 so did Jocketty force Jason Marquis and Kevin Gregg on Price? If Price readily agreed to that then he’s as big an imbecile as Jocketty is!!

    • One thought in defense of those like Price and Dusty who stick with their veterans — it may be very hard to empower senior veteran leadership on a team where as soon as a veteran has a bad month (or an upcoming prospect is knocking on the door), the manager bails on the veteran. I suspect there is a balance: the manager asks for the veterans to lead the team, and in return the veterans get some (too much) respect from the manager/FO.

      If you’re constantly benching 30-40 year old men in favor of their replacements (20-25 year old men), I suspect the veteran leadership charge may be thrown in the managers/FO face a little bit??

      I dunno.

      • I don’t know either, but yours is a good thought and takes into account human behavior.

  8. Price is a good pitching coach that got his first manager’s job because I really don’t know why he got it.Maybe because Walt likes the good old boy network and promotes from within as he has been prone to do.Chuck could be right in that manager’s make little or no difference because most were losers before they became winners. However others rank the best to the worst using a criteria of titles won and wins and losses among other things I am sure.Personally I would prefer the Reds manager be a guy that has went through a re-build of a team and has the understanding of what it takes.Price is here for 3 more months and then we start all over again.Hopefully its a guy like I mentioned but it really comes down to the players.In MLB over a 162 game season,talent will get you to the playoffs but them all bets are off because over a 15-20 games stretch anybody can get hot.

  9. You know a manager’s role is not just limited to field tactics. In all likelihood, a dumb move is balanced out by a smart move, for the net loss/ win of 2 or 3 games in a season. The immeasurable is the clubhouse environment. Of course, winning helps create a good environment. Even as great as the Big Red MAchine was, Pete said everyone wanted to win for Sparky. Keeping a good clubhouse environment, where everyone gives their best and seeks to improve and root for each other during a losing season takes a good manager. I suspect Bryan will be gone after this year and we will hear from the players if was any good or not.

    • That is funny.
      When the Reds were in DC Joey threw his batting gloves on top of the dugout after batting practice. One adult got both gloves leaving my kid empty handed. I told him he had to make a better effort next time to claim the souvenir.

    • Give that writer a Pulitzer! I thought it was going to be a character assassination piece, but it wasn’t. Good for him.

      I’ve never understood the outrage people have at not getting hand outs. It would be like me going to Bill Gates and asking for $100k. it’s nothing to him, sure, but why do I deserve it? I don’t. Just like that kid didn’t deserve a MLB player’s gloves.

  10. One pitch outing doesn’t seem to be the right role for Iglesias.
    However, did you see the way Cingrani and Barnhart shook hands after the win. Very enthusiastic. That situation, a one-run game on the road in SF for a series win, had to be a huge confidence builder for Cingrani. So, I won’t quibble on bullpen usage.
    However, the (non) usage of Peraza is perplexing.
    Bruce and Straily increased their trade value just a little bit more. Outstanding luck and timing.
    “Steely Dan” was a nice touch.

  11. I’d just like to see a Reds front office and manager that are ahead of the problems and not just reacting to situations all the time. Someone that can learn on the job and implement new ideas. An effective manager might only add 3-4 wins for the season but that can be pretty big since the Reds will most likely be fighting for a wildcard if/when they’re relevant again!

    Then you have Dusty….the Nats might get the best record in the NL despite him but if they had Trea Turner all year then they’d probably be 3-4 games up on everyone right now instead of 1 game down to the Cubs. Revere = Corey Patterson but that’s how Dusty rolls!

    • Indy: Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds–mine as well as everyone else’s. When Dusty managed the Reds, people were blaming him for losses and saying that wins were in spite of him. I was being consistent by saying that that position was inconsistent, and I still say that while believing that a manager makes little difference.

  12. For the record, the Reds are 8-4 since the ASB, not 9-3; they’ve won 4 straight 3-game series 2 games to 1.

    Say what you want about Price, but the Reds haven’t quit on him. The rash of (relatively minor) pitching injuries to Lorenzen, Desclafani, Iglesias and (later) Adelman, plus Bailey’s rehab and some failings (Hoover) and bullpen injuries (Cotham), pretty much left them with a AAA staff for two months. They were 17-35 at the end of May, and have since been 23-26. They did beat a sharp Madison Bumgarner yesterday in a day game in SF.

    If–the biggest word of them all–Bailey can get enough innings in this year to return to form next year, and if Price can get Cody Reed over the rookie hump, then this team will be a .500 team next year.

    • I have a couple of thoughts here. First off someone is certain say, so what? What does .500 get a team and its fans? To this I would say history indicates it is almost always easier and quicker to get to 90+ wins from 80 wins than 65, 70, or even 75 wins assuming a team is integrating new talent versus riding too much old talent a year too long as it reaches the .500 mark. What the Cubs did last year was an outlier that even their brain trust publicly acknowledged was unanticipated and ahead of their projected curve. Don’t use it as a baseline for the Reds.

      However, I am concerned where the Reds stand in the process of changing the guard with position players. Even if all the pitching comes together, if they don’t make progress with the position player transitions, they will still struggle to get above the mid 70’s level of wins.

      • You may very well be right. Though, I don’t think many predicted the 2016 Reds without Todd Frazier would be on pace to score 10% more runs than the 2015 Reds with Todd Frazier.

        Bruce and Cozart will cost around 18-19 million next year. Winker and Peraza will cost an aggregate 1 million. It all depends on what they get back in the trades and what they do with the 17 million.

        • And that’s part of the dilemma for me. The baseball fan in me hates to see Bruce go but the realistic side says it probably makes the most sense in the long run.

  13. Fans still bashing Price after a huge 2-1 win for another series win. Face the facts Price haters, if the Reds finish above .500 in the second half, that will show significant improvement with healthy pitchers and all hands now on deck. Price will get a new 2 year contract after this season. If the Reds and Price do well with healthy bodies in the second half, I think the Reds will want to carry over some continuity through the winter into spring training.
    Getting Homer Bailey back this weekend will be a big boost and is almost like getting a trade piece. Things are starting to lineup for Price and the Reds. Price finally gets to do battle with a full arsenal.

    • Yeah til Saturday when Jay gets traded away for some 19 yr olds and BP is back at cleanup

    • Unfortunately your prediction regarding Bryan Price, with the Reds current front office, will probably come true.

    • Watching the interactions among the coaches that get shown on the TV, I’m starting to suspect that Price has largely handed the everyday reins over to Riggleman and has made himself the hands on pitching coach/ coordinator since Riggins was shown the door. To this I simply say, whatever works, works.

      If the team plays at .500 post ASG break, that will pose an issue for (presumably) Dick Williams and Mr Castellini. Under somewhat similar circumstances after the 2007 season, Castellini ousted the incumbent, Pete Mackanin, in favor of installing the guy he saw as his long term manager for that development cycle.

    • I have to agree. Price is often the goat. He does make plenty of odd decisions but he is still young to the manager game. The best managers are well aged in my opinion. Maybe having Piniella around some helps Price there. I am right at 50/50 as I do see Price still providing some aid to the pitching staff. Consider our starters that are now performing. How much credit does he get for that? Also Ted Power. Now that he is up does he get any credit at all for the bullpen surge? Cingrani appears to be pitching better so we can’t say it is just Iglesias and Lorenzen in the bullpen that is doing it.

      • Good point on Cingrani. He’s throwing more strikes and his mechanics seem a bit smoother. Not sure if it’s Power’s influence but it might be.

  14. In the 12 games since the ASB, Jay & Joey have been on a tear

    JB => .295/.380/.818 1.198OPS .523ISO 2 2B, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 11 R
    JV => .500/.623/.850 1.473OPS .350ISO 2 2B, 4 HR, 10 RBI, 15 R

    • Votto stats never cease to amaze me… his career OBP is over 40 points higher than Bruce’s “tear” OBP. Amazing.

  15. Nice update by Zack Buchanan and Sheldon has one coming on the Reds trade talks. Funny it was Jocketty again they are quoting, not Williams. No action on Cozart and little action for Bruce. Not getting any serious offers.
    That means the Dodgers won’t talk about OF Alex Verdugo.
    That means the Indians won’t discuss either OF Frazier or Zimmer.
    That means the Orioles won’t include C Chance Sisco.
    That means the Nats won’t talk about SS Trea Turner.
    That means the Giants won’t talk about SS Christian Arroyo.
    Not just yet.
    What is Houston waiting for?
    Maybe if Boston doesn’t get themselves a top of rotation #2 starting pitcher, they sneak into the Bruce discussions.
    As the pressure starts to mount on these contending teams, things will start to percolate soon.

    • I was sitting back mulling the results from the Giant’s series last night. If the Giants had made a serious move to shore up their OF needs by adding Bruice before that series, the Giants almost certainly sweep the series from the Reds, gain ground on the Dodgers and have Bruce signed for their playoff run.

      Bruce has quieted his critics with 2 minor offensive slumps (16 games and 23 games) and both slumps producing a .600+ OPS during 2016. With no extended, severe slumps, Bruce is putting up the best season of his career and redefining his potential.

      In 2013, Bruce began a serious effort to change his plate approach from a dead pull hitter to hitting to all fields. The early results were not effective with weak fly balls to left and left-center rather than line drives and deep drives, but it was a work in progress. Unfortunately, his knee injury derailed the work on his plate approach in 2014 and 2015, but the results of his efforts are unfolding before or eyes in 2016.

      Bruce’s career development looks pretty solid, and progressive, with the mitigating knee injury factoired out:

      2009 (age 22) 101 OPS+
      2010 (age 23) 124 OPS+
      2011 (age 24) 118 OPS+
      2012 (age 25) 121 OPS+
      2013 (age 26) 120 OPS+
      2014 (age 27)
      2015 (age 28)
      2016 (age 29) 134 OPS+

      I believe Bruce has reestablished his offensive baseline going forward for his last few peak seasons before beginning his age regression years. I hope the Reds hold firm to a demand for a premium return in trade or just keep Bruce on the roster.

      • I agree….they can always trade him in the offseason or next year if they can’t drum up the bidding war right now! I would like to see Cozart go though…..so Peraza can play every day. Zack will be 31 soon and that’s too old for this rebuild. Jay is prob too old at 29

    • I’m not a “conspiracy theorist” but I wonder if Jocketty is around just to take the blame and has no actual operational responsibility. It allows Williams to make difficult decisions that may be unpopular and Walt collects a check just to talk to the press and take the blame.

    • I think the Sawx are much more concerned about pitching than hitting. They’re hitting pretty well, but starting pitching has been iffy, at least according to fans here in Red Sox Nation.

      • I expect that you’re right, but why should he be candid about the trade market when he is, presumably, in the middle of negotiations? Are other GM’s more truthful? He doesn’t owe us a step-by-step narrative any more than Joey owed the kid in the box seats his batting gloves.

        • Jocketty has always played it very close to the vest. He even did it with the Cardinals. “Nothing much going on. Nothing to see here.” Then BAM!!

          I don’t think this is a critique of Jocketty in this case. Just a reminder.

  16. For us to compete for a 500 record next year and a possible wild card in 2018 the Reds must have position players with higher OBP.Lets just say Bruce and Cosart stay and only BP leaves then others must step up and improve getting on base.I don’t know if Hamilton will or Duvall,Suarez,Peraza or the catcher spot will but somebody has to for us to compete.A lineup with guys at 330 or better will win lots of games but we don’t have that right now.My biggest fear is we end up with a staff that is in the top tier in the NL and we can’t score to support them.Its worth mentioning that the Cubs will be good for a long time,the Cards are the Cards and the Bucs are good as well.

  17. The Padres just traded two starting pitchers to the Miami Marlins. Cashner and Rea go to Miami. I thought both of those two were scheduled to go this weekend vs. the Reds. Cashner wasn’t a scheduled starter in the Reds 3 upcoming games. But Rea was to face Homer Bailey on Sunday, so that will change. Padres got a little weaker at just the right time for the Reds. Things should shape up for another series win this weekend and also shape up for a rare winning west coast road trip.
    And Homer Bailey is back. Indeed a good weekend is in store.

    • My O’s are desperate for pitching but kind of glad they didn’t get Cashner. I think he would have cost too much. It’s hard to tell though because Rea also went in the Marlins deal.

        • This is true. I’m actually kind of surprised that the Rangers didn’t ask about him. They traded the Braves for a guy that in my opinion isn’t as good and a bullpen piece.

        • The Tampa Rays were asking the Marlins for Yelich AND Realmuto for Moore or Odorizzi.
          It is getting nuts out there for pitching.

    • McCallister’s thought is that the Reds next phase should be to give Price a one year extension.

      I disagree in principle with a 1 year extension because I believe the manager next year, regardless of who he turns out to be, should be the person the Reds believe will lead the team on the field through this rebuild/ compete cycle.

      Price still has two months to make his case that he should be that person.

      • I actually would do a two year extension so that Price wouldn’t be in another one year lame duck situation next year.
        The thing is, who would you get to replace Price? That is a bare thin market.

    • They could do worse but I think they can do better too. My biggest knock against this is that I think Williams should be able to bring in his own manager.

      • I agree, and I further think Williams should be looking for a manager willing to think a little out of the old-school box. Using Cingrani the other day when Iglesias had thrown one pitch? Then going to the “closer”? Of course. … You’ve used Iglesias for that day, so let him finish. And save Cingrani to be a bit fresher for San Diego.

        But nope, we’ll do it the same ol way because it was a ‘save situation.’

        • We all (or most of us) think Williams, if he replaces Price, “should” be looking for a manager who will think out of the old-school box. However, none of us know whether that is, or will be, the case. What if he fires Price and hires DeShields? I’m trusting that people on this site know more than me and almost every comment I’ve read indicates that if anything, he would be just about as bad a choice as one could make. I’m not on the fire Price bandwagon but I will not be up in arms if he is let go, UNLESS the next hire is someone who is unwilling or incapable of using modern tools to help evaluate players.

        • Unfortunately, that’s how most managers are going to play it until teams start paying on overall production for a reliever and not the save stat or based on what inning they normally pitch.

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